Neuroscience Explains Why Instagram Is So Bad For Teen Girls
Two friends making using mobile phone at the street
Thanks to ongoing brain development and increased sensitivity to dopamine , teenagers are more likely to crave reward-based experiences. And, because their prefrontal cortex is still developing, social interactions greatly shape impulse control and critical thinking.
In the past, we often thought of these as risk-taking behaviors like driving fast or attempts at fitting in to get approval from peers. But in the age of smartphones, social media, followers, and likes, reward-seeking behaviors in teens is increasingly associated with approval online.
As of 2018, Instagram has more than 1 billion users worldwide, and more than half are daily users. Of those, about 60% are females under the age of 34. This is not coincidental. In fact, the software has been engineered to keep them engaged longer and coming back for more. Bottomless scrolling, tagging, notifications, and live stories tap into the fear of missing out that give teens so much anxiety. Or as We The Internet posed in a YouTube video, the site has engineered addiction.
So here are some things you need to know about what social media and Instagram in particular are doing to young womens brains.
What Does The Letter Say
Specifically, the letter points out how social media can harm childrens physical, mental, and social wellbeing, with Instagram being continually noted as a hotbed of suicide ideation, depression, and body image concerns.
Furthermore, they say that the app exploits young peoples fear of missing out and desire for peer approval, that it presents challenges to adolescents privacy and wellbeing, and that children can stay connected to friends and family in safer ways.
Moreover, children arent equipped to handle inappropriate content they are likely to see on Instagram kids.
Predators may attempt to access children through the application.
There may also be widespread bullying on the platform
‘misinformation Toxicity And Violent Content’
In 2018, Zuckerberg said a change in Facebook’s algorithm was intended to improve interactions among friends and family and reduce the amount of professionally produced content in their feeds. But according to the documents published by the Journal, staffers warned the change was having the opposite effect: Facebook was becoming an angrier place.
A team of data scientists put it bluntly: “Misinformation, toxicity and violent content are inordinately prevalent among reshares,” they said, according to the Journal’s report.
“Our approach has had unhealthy side effects on important slices of public content, such as politics and news,” the scientists wrote. “This is an increasing liability,” one of them wrote in a later memo cited by WSJ.
The following year, the problem persisted. One Facebook data scientist, according to the WSJ, wrote in an internal memo in 2019: “While the FB platform offers people the opportunity to connect, share and engage, an unfortunate side effect is that harmful and misinformative content can go viral, often before we can catch it and mitigate its effects.”
Lars Backstrom, a Facebook vice president of engineering, told the Journal in an interview that “like any optimization, there’s going to be some ways that it gets exploited or taken advantage of …That’s why we have an integrity team that is trying to track those down and figure out how to mitigate them as efficiently as possible.”
You May Like: Can You Mute Someone On Instagram
What To Do If Youre Being Harassed
Block someone if necessary. If someones harassing you, such as repeatedly tagging you in photos you dont like or sending you a lot of direct messages or trying to engage you in a creepy conversation, you can block them so they cant tag you, contact you directly or mention you in comments. They also wont be able to see your profile or search for your account. To block a user, go to his or her profile, tap the three dots at the top right, and select Block. When you block an account, that person isnt notified and you can unblock an account at any time.
Report problematic posts. You can report other peoples inappropriate photos, videos, stories, or comments or users who violate Instagrams community guidelines. Just click on the three dots next to the username, then Report.
You can untag yourself. Only the person who posts can tag people in the post, but if that persons profile is public anyone tagged by the poster can untag themselves. You can untag yourself by tapping on your username in a post, but only if the post is public or if you follow the person who tagged you.
Ignore messages labeled Request. If you dont want to receive a message from someone you dont know, ignore any messages in your inbox marked Request. If you want to see images only from people you know, limit who you follow.
To report a photo or video:
- Tap the three dots next to the photo youd like to report and then Report.
To report a comment:
Warn Your Child That Whatever They Post May Stay Online Permanently
Make your child understand that what they post can haunt them for years. Tell them that if they have second thoughts about posting something, they probably shouldnt.
As painful as it is to admit, every child has the potential to be a bully. Stress to your child that that behavior is not only unacceptable but may become viral or immortalized by other users.
Read Also: How To See Someones Private Twitter
Does Instagram Own Your Photos
Your Non-Exclusive License to Instagram
The paragraph above clearly states that you own the photos, videos or content you post on your Instagram account. Instagram doesnt become the owner of your posted content. By virtue of posting images on Instagram, youre not giving up ownership of your images.
You Feel Insecure About Your Body
A study published in 2017 measured the relationship between young womens body image concerns and their overall Instagram use. It revealed, Greater overalluse was associated with greater self-objectification, and that relationship was mediated both by internalization and by appearance comparisons to celebrities. So if youve found yourself taking 23 pictures to get the perfect angle, its time to stop comparing yourself to photoshopped, filtered-out models, and start appreciating the whole person you are and the beauty that you uniquely possess within. Wheres Mr. Rogers when you need him, right?
Read Also: Can You Edit An Instagram Post
Possibility Of Blocking Your Account
We should note that Instagram has recently focused on building genuine connections on the platform, protecting real accounts.
For this reason, it sometimes sends a warning message to accounts behaving suspiciously alongside removing some of their comments or posts.
But the worst-case scenario? You can get blocked forever.
Buying subscribers usually means going to a third-party tool and giving them many access permissions to your account. It means they can use your account for various purposes without you even noticing.
Instagram Is Even Worse Than We Thought For Kids What Do We Do About It
New documents reveal Facebook knows, in granular detail, just how harmful its Instagram app is for many teenage girls, according to a Wall Street Journal report published Tuesday. The newspaper shared findings of what Instagrams internal researchers called a teen mental health deep dive, including a study that found Instagram makes body image issues worse for 1 in 3 teen girls.
The pressure to look perfect, the tendency to share only the most positive and polished parts of a persons life, and its addictive nature can send teens spiraling toward eating disorders, an unhealthy sense of their own bodies, and depression, according to the article, which cites an internal Instagram report from March 2020. Boys are also affected, with 14 percent reporting that Instagram made them feel worse about themselves. Most alarming perhaps was an internal presentation showing that, among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13 percent of British users and 6 percent of American users traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram.
Whats helpful about this new data from Instagram is that it moves us past simplistic conversations about whether social media is good or bad to a conversation about what kinds of social media use are bad and for which kids, says Michael Robb, senior director of research at Common Sense Media.
Jennifer Breheny Wallace is a freelance journalist who is writing a book on achievement culture for Penguin Random House. Find her on Twitter .
Don’t Miss: What Are The Symbols In Snapchat
The Dangers Of Buying Instagram Followers
More often than not, brands cannot resist the allure of this incredible offer to create powerful social proof even when they have just launched their business. At first glance, it seems like a good idea, we agree, but it is perilous to do so.
Lets look at a few examples of possible threats coming with the bunch of easy followers:
How To Tackle These Instagram Dangers
After getting to know all the dangers that your kid might face while using Instagram, you must be thinking that it would be better to remove their account from Instagram.
But it wont be of any use as its not that hard to make another account on Instagram. Moreover, its might cause some differences between you and your kid.
What you should do is, first of all, make them understand these dangers briefly. After that, you have to set a bar for them under which their Instagram activities should remain.
You May Like: How To Delete Twitter Notifications
What Are The Dangers Of Instagram How To Keep Your Kids Safe On This Social Media Platform
As an Amazon Associate and affiliate of other programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What are the dangers of Instagram for kids? This topic concerns me, as more youths are using Instagram at an increasingly younger age. In fact, 80 percent of all 13 to 18-year-olds and 23 percent of 8 to 12-year-olds have social media accounts.
Keep reading to learn how to keep your child safe on Instagram.
Does Facebook Have Plans To Drop Instagram For Kids
Unfortunately, its unlikely that Facebook will drop its Instagram for Kids plans.
Parents should be aware that social media is not safe for children.
Even the best apps and filter checkers cant catch everything that goes online, so the best way to supervise their online activities is to sit right next to them, or keep them offline altogether.
- More than 40 US attorneys general published an open letter asking Facebook to stop plans to create Instagram for Kids.
- Critics point to the way YouTube Kids has been incapable of keeping disturbing videos away from children.
- The letter claims the app will exploit childrens fear of missing out and longing for peer approval.
Recent scandals with Roblox, YouTube Kids, Messenger Kids, and more show that even the most dedicated filters, algorithms, and teams of filter checkers cant catch everything that goes on online and that the safest option is to keep children offline.
Read Also: Ib Urban Dictionary
What Are The Dangers Of Instagram
What are the dangers of Instagram? Instagram algorithms facilitate a never-ending stream of photos and videos that can send teens spiraling toward eating disorders, an unhealthy sense of their own bodies and depression, The Journal said, citing Facebooks internal research.
What is so bad about Instagram? They found that Instagram and other social networks are associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and a fear of missing out . They can also foster a negative body image and poor sleep habits.
Why is Instagram not safe? Instagram is also a photo sharing and messaging app. For cyber savvy parents the biggest problem is that if you have any adult content filters on your childs device or on your home internet, Instagram bypasses all of these. Its an app, so it wont be able to be filtered for adult or violent content.
Why should I quit Instagram? Stepping away from Instagram, even if its just for a month or so, can help you reset and refocus your priorities. When you dont feel the pressure to impress, instruct, or keep up with other people, you can focus on doing the things that you really enjoy without documenting them.
Closing Thoughts For Parents
Instagram is one of many social media apps for smartphones and no single service, app or tool covers all digital social activities or even a single category, but research shows that socializing face-to-face is still the main event for teens.
Remember that your kids can be on Instagram even if theyre not on Instagram. Sounds unlikely, but not in social media. Even if a parent bans all social media, his or her childs photo and other information can be posted by friends via their accounts. And for teens, theres the fear of missing out that even has its own acronym, FOMO. While not all teens need to or necessarily even want to use social media apps, for many its embedded into their social lives. Of course, parents should help their teen make good choices, but banning social media may not be the best solution.
Finally, we all need balance in our lives. You and your kids need to take breaks from your devices. Use Instagrams time management tools and, set family policies that apply to parents as well. Having dinner together without devices, turning off devices at bedtime and making sure that tech use is balanced with exercise, school work and other activities is all part of a healthy lifestyle.
We Hope Your Child Will Enjoy Instagram Safely
With so many kids joining Instagram, its important to know about its dangers. But if your child is mature and well-informed, it may be perfectly fine for them. If not, we recommend blocking adult content on your childs devices.
Did you enjoy this article? If so, please share it. Please also share your thoughts in the comments.
Make The Most Of The New Year
For those who are eager for the new year to arrive, there are some ways to make sure the opportunity doesnt slip past.
It shouldnt be a surprise that a rock-solid plan is the foundation of it all, rather than fortune-cookie-style wishful thinking.
Once you have established an understanding of why your resolution is important, the next step is to create a strategy and to identify the tools that will help you manifest what you want, said Author and Speaker Tony Robbins. Without a plan, your resolution will remain a pipe dream. To make your goal reality, put pen to paper. Commit yourself even further and write it down for yourself to review every day this year,
A bit of rational optimism can go a long way, according to some leaders in the business world. Theres no denying that the new year offers a chance to reset, recharge, and get to work.
If youre going all-in on a new years plan, you might as well make it detailed and give it your best effort, said Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce. Set up a daily schedule if that helps, and self-audit to make sure youre minimizing wasted time. Map out goals for each week and month, and reflect on what you did well or where you need improvement. Treat it as a serious project, because thats what your life is! If we prioritize our well-being and personal goals as highly as our work and family responsibilities, wed all be happier and healthier people.
Also Check: How To See Someones Private Facebook
Dangers Of Social Media
Weve put together a list of some of the most common social media platforms and ways that your son or daughter can put themselves at risk with the content they share. Take a look and be sure youre having conversations with your children about the dos and donts of social media.
Facebook: Your teenager is probably a Facebook user, but dont assume kids use this site the same way you do. Facebook is huge. Its a default. Not having a Facebook profile would be like not being listed in the phone book back in the olden days. Teens feel the need to maintain a profile there, even if they are not very active on the site. For best results on Facebook, do not engage your teen. Just lurk and collect information.
Instagram: This photo editing and sharing app is crazy popular with teenage girls who love their selfies. Instagram allows users to edit and post photos taken on their phone, and the images are publicly visible by default. Privacy settings are critical here because there are whole communities dedicated to displaying images of minors in sexually suggestive poses that are not technically pornography. Not to be paranoid, but innocent vacation pictures could end up in a forum for a pedophiles.
The Risks Of Instagram For Children And Teenagers
12 September, 2019
One of the most popular social networks today is Instagram. Its appealing because its interface is straightforward and also has a mainly visual format. Through it, photos are shared between users from all over the world, at any time and place. Thus, publishing photos becomes very easy and even turns into an everyday thing.
In recent years, this network is what has led to an increasing trend of taking what has become known as selfies. And while not all children and adolescents misuse it, the truth is that there is still much to say when it comes to educating children and teenagers about the risks of Instagram.
As parents, its essential to be well informed of the different technological advances in order to be able to guide children properly. Its also necessary to learn how to evaluate the possible risks of using social networks. Therefore, we must be attentive.
You May Like: Adding A Second Instagram Account